Gunselman’s Tavern – Ash Wednesday 2020

Gunselman’s has been serving fish fries since 1936 (obviously with the break in between when they weren’t serving food). I started the 2020 Fish Fry season on Ash Wednesday (February 26th) at Gunselman’s Tavern by ordering the Fish and Chips to go for dinner later that night. I was there to enjoy the burger of the month, the Coldwater Lobster Love Burger, before the month ended.

The Fish and Chips features a 14 inch haddock filet served with the hand cut fries, cole slaw and tartar sauce – and half a grilled lemon. The fish filet is so huge they had to cut it in half to fit it in the carryout container. I put it together for the photo.

The fish filet did not strike me as a food service fish and was lightly breaded so I could taste the fish. The fries are their usual hand cut fries and were as stellar as always. The cole slaw was a little meagerly portioned, but I enjoyed it. It was a light mayo-based cole slaw that was not too gloopy. The tartar sauce also struck me as homemade. I ended up eating half for dinner and the other half I heated in the air fryer for lunch the next day. Even the cheese sauce for the hand cut fries reheated well. Both the haddock and the perch dinner are on the regular menu, but Gunselman’s was also serving a special Friday Night Fish Fry menu during Lent with clam chowder, Cajun fish tacos, salmon, mussel ramen, shrimp boil, fried shrimp and lobster mac n cheese. Alas, then COVID-19 hit and everything got scaled way back. I had hoped to go back later in the season and order a couple more items to really cover their Fish Fry Fridays. Instead they are serving a limited take out menu and you get this post three months later. Maybe (hopefully) next year!

Contact info:

Gunselman’s Tavern
21490 Lorain Road
Fairview Park, OH 44126
(440) 331-5719

Fish Fry Friday 2020 – Fisher’s American Tavern

Nancy from Fun Playing With Food highly recommended the fish fry at Fisher’s American Tavern, so that was my choice last week. I thought I had posted it, but apparently not. I called ahead and was told it would be about 30 minutes, which was perfect for me since it would take that long to drive there. I pulled in and there were a few cars in the lot waiting for their food. Calling ahead was a great idea. I walked in under the awning and picked it up at the bar. They had forgotten to give me my bags with salad and chowder, but a quick call and u-turn fixed it.

I decided I was going to add a couple sides, so I only ordered the 1/2 Annie’s Fish Fry. I was told that it was one piece of fish instead of two, about 7 oz. total. It still came with a ginormous piece of delicious, flaky fish, a healthy portion of fries, a dinner roll and tartar sauce. I also ordered a side of pierogi and a bowl of chowder. When asked if I wanted sour cream or apple sauce I answered affirmative to both. I’ve been craving apple sauce lately. I split them up into two meals. I can’t imagine how much I would have had left if I had ordered the full fry.

My air fryer came in handy, because I had to stop at Fresh Fork to pick up a winter share. They were nice enough to let non-current customers order due to the coronavirus. I took advantage of stocking up on milk and eggs and looked forward to the roast chicken later in the week. People were heavily distancing themselves (instead of 6 feet more like 100-200 feet) and the line wrapped around the edge of the parking lot. By the time I came home my fries and fish were soggy. I popped half of them in the air fryer for about 8 minutes at 380, and they crisped up nicely. In fact, I would have to say that the fries were my favorite all season. Nicely seasoned. And the fish had a nice crisp coating but it wasn’t too thick. Overall a very nice fish fry.

The pierogi were great and easy to heat back up. The onions were nicely caramelized. It was just potato and cheese, but those are the best ones and these were a really nice example of good pierogi. I slathered them with sour cream, because that’s how I roll. The chowder was okay. Better than Around the Corner, but nowhere near Sokolowski’s or Firehouse Grill’s chowder. I ended up eating half with the meal and then the other half later that night as a “snack. They added it to my entree for $2.99 instead of charging me the full price of $5.49, so that was a nice surprise.

I also ordered a Wedge Salad, because I love them. The bleu cheese doesn’t love me, but I figured I would indulge since I was self-isolating. I was so glad I did. The lettuce was crisp, and I loved the toppings of finely diced tomato, crisp bacon pieces, and bleu cheese hunks. The sliced egg was a nice choice as well. It even held up until I had the second half at lunch the next day.

This was definitely a fish fry worth visiting. Thanks for the heads up, Nancy!

Contact info:

Fisher’s American Tavern
28020 Miles Road
Solon, OH 44139
(440) 349-3736

Fish Fry Friday 2020 – Around the Corner TO GO

We’re in week two of #stayathome. Two weeks ago all the church fish fries were cancelled until further notice because we were told to avoid crowds of 100. And then some self-entitled nimrods partied on the beaches of Florida anyway and who knows how many people were infected. So the government had to ratchet it up a notch (since people weren’t giving it the attention and concern this pandemic should be given) and close down all restaurants and bars. But luckily restaurants can still operate as carry out operations for the near future. Who knows how long that will last, but I took my chances and drove to Around the Corner in Lakewood to grab a fish fry to go. Practicing self distancing the whole time. There weren’t a lot of people getting to go orders at 7, and the employee cashed me out with the bar in between us.

I apologize for the quality of the photos. The lighting in my kitchen is not great, and I tried to avoid shadows as much as I could. I was unsuccessful.

All the little things – including the dinner roll

I ordered a perch dinner because all my friends seem to prefer it. This perch dinner was good, but again it didn’t wow me. I guess I’m not much of a foodie, because I prefer to sink my teeth into a nice thick, fluffy white fish. I should have ordered the cod. It looks like a beautiful piece of fish and takes up the entire plate in the photos. The perch dinner features 4 pieces of lake perch, french fries, a small serving of cole slaw, and a corn muffin (yeah, dinner roll in this case – maybe they had run out) with honey butter for $13.95. I also ordered a side of (3) pierogi for $5.95 and a bowl of clam chowder for $5.95.

Since it was take-out I can’t rate the freshness. The perch and fries were a little soggy from being in the takeout container, but the second half heated up nicely the next day in the air fryer. I really enjoyed the cole slaw. It definitely ranks up there with my favorite cole slaws. It is mayo-based with just a hint of sweetness. The dinner roll was meh, but the honey butter was delicious and definitely made it better. The pierogi seemed homemade. The potato and cheese filling was nicely seasoned and the outside was not overly doughy.

The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was the clam chowder. It looks denser in the picture than it was once I rewarmed it. So the consistency was fine. It was the taste. I don’t know if they added twice the pepper or if that is the normal recipe. If that was the normal recipe they might want to dial it back a bit on the pepper. It had a nice amount of clams and potatoes. I still ate it, but a cup would have been more welcome.

Who knows what adventure awaits us next week. I had the Donauschwaben fish fry scheduled because I had a teacher meeting scheduled there that night, but we have now moved all school-related stuff online – even teacher meetings. I may or may not get it to go. It depends on if they are still serving. I definitely miss the pancake breakfasts!

Contact info:

Around the Corner
18616 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 521-4413

Fish Fry Friday 2020 – St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church

I started the official Fish Fry Fridays this week at St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church. The first Friday was spent at Pacific East celebrating a friend’s birthday.

Dinners here are served from 5 to 7:30 during Lent. They sell pierogi out of the basement on Friday mornings/afternoons. My ideal fish fry has fried fish and homemade pierogi, so a church that sells their own pierogi is fisy fry paradise for me. I was here last year at 5:10. The line and wait was fairly long. We ended up meeting up later this year to accommodate schedules (I was down in Kent that afternoon speaking to translation grad students about our profession, others were working). My friend Kris and I ended up getting there at 6:10, which seemed to be the perfect time. The line had died down and they were able to reserve a table for six for us when we requested it after ordering. The price of the fish fry was also $1 less this year, but you only get one piece of fish instead of two. The price of a dinner includes choice of cole slaw or apple sauce, bread and butter, a dessert and soft drinks, coffee or tea. You can order fried fish, fried shrimp or a pierogi dinner. I ordered the fried fish and 3 pierogi for $12 and a side of mac n cheese for $3, for a total of $15.

They ran out of cabbage and noodles just as we were about to order, then they had run out of baked fish and bread by the time the rest of the group arrived at 6:30.

The room is small and lots of people stake their claim to tables. The line to pay and get the dinners from the kitchen is right as you walk in. If you are taking your food to go you can forego the line and head to the to-go area at the back wall past the kitchen. Otherwise you order at the table and then head to the kitchen window to pick up your dinners. Then you get in line again at the condiments and dessert table on the left and grab your condiments, cole slaw or apple sauce, bread and butter, dessert and coffee or tea. Soft drinks are available at the bar that is built into a cubby in the wall to the left. The bar does not serve alcohol at fish fries – it is manned by young high school boys.

I had a tough time deciding what dessert to choose. There was a wide variety of homemade desserts, from cake, brownies, cookies and chocolate pudding. I chose what looked to me like a pumpkin cake with cream cheese center. It was and I was very pleased with my choice. By the end of the night we were sitting around talking and they had a ton of desserts left, so I grabbed another chocolate pudding.

Everyone was thrilled with their meals. Half of us chose the fried fish, and half chose the fried shrimp. The fish was flaky and moist, the pierogi were plump and delicious, and the apple sauce hit the spot. The mac n cheese was also nice and creamy. One friend went back and ordered another piece of fish because he enjoyed it so much. The only complaint we had were the potato pancakes, which were so greasy they were soggy. Potato pancakes should be crisp and shatter to reveal a creamy center.

We sat around talking until 7:30. We were literally the last table to leave. The volunteers were sitting and enjoying their meals when we ventured into the snow squall. I put on my heated seats, and we headed north for home. It was the perfect, quintessential Cleveland evening.

Contact info:

St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church (Back Hall)
7700 Hoertz Road
Parma, OH
440-843-9149

Bonus Fish Fry Friday – The British American Club in Twinsburg

It’s Fish Fry season! I am starting my usual fish fry attendance tonight at St. Andrew’s, but wanted to post a couple fish fries from the past to share them here. This fish fry visit was from April 20, 2018. It was spurred by someone asking about it on All Things Food in Cleveland, a Facebook group I help run. I found my photo of the food and drove by today to take a photo of the building. This is facing west on Ravenna Road. A couple interior photos are from the BAC website.

The British American Club in Twinsburg is not your usual fish fry. This completely nondescript building is located on Ravenna Road in Twinsburg. Just past the Square the street Ys off on Route 82 (at Romeo’s Pizza), so turn to the right then keep going straight when it turns to the left. It’s on the right side a couple miles down. It is a brick building that is just past the Do This Do That Auto Body shop. The BAC volunteers serve fried fish, fried shrimp and fried chicken throughout the year on the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month and every Friday during Lent. The Fish and Chips dinner includes two pieces of battered fish, chips, mushy peas, cole slaw and bread and butter and costs $8 for members and $9.50 for non-members. It is cash only.

We cautiously entered since we weren’t sure what to expect but were greeted and told to take a table. We then went to the back of the room where we gave our orders. If you want to order a drink at the bar they will charge you $2 for a temporary associate membership. I was happy to do it because they had Guinness and Harp on tap. We were given our fried food and helped ourselves to the cole slaw, mushy peas, and bread and butter as well as the condiments (ketchup and malt vinegar) on a table along the wall separating the bar and the dining area.

I spent $15 that night for my fish and chips, temporary membership, and Black and Tan. We would go back again for the mushy peas and the malt vinegar alone. My friend from England was so happy that night. The fish was perfectly cooked – not too greasy while crisp outside and moist inside. I got the impression that the fish were hand-breaded, because most fish service fish look flat and identically triangular. I would definitely recommend this fish fry if you are near Twinsburg or don’t mind a bit of a drive.

Contact info:

British American Club
8564 Ravenna Road
Twinsburg, OH 44087
(330) 963-6370

Fish Fry Friday #6 – EDWINS Butcher Shop

I hit the “I can’t look at another fried fish” point and was going to sit today out – until one of my friends re-posted a status update from EDWINS Butcher Shop advertising a six piece shrimp dinner with fries and slaw for $5.99 or a 12 piece for $9.99 on Facebook. Shrimp sounded good to me, so I called to make sure they had some left (it was about 40 minutes to their closing time) and headed out. I only live 11 minutes from there, so it was nice to stick close to home tonight.

I parked on the street outside the butcher shop, since it was just on 6:30, and headed into the butcher shop. It’s a cute little storefront. About half of it is tables for people to eat their food, and the other half is a large meat counter, coolers, a small freezer and a well-curated selection of specialty items.

I purchased my shrimp dinner and then browsed while I waited. I was not going to shop, but then I was tempted by the Sprecher’s Root Beer and prepared Banana Pudding in one of the coolers. So then of course I needed a strip steak, Colman’s mustard powder, some chocolate for wine pairings and Italian bread from Orlando. Right as I was checking out, my dinner came out of the kitchen. I grabbed my shopping bag and headed out as the next customer ordered a couple fish dinners and a chicken dinner. It was 6:50.

I drove home with the delicious smell wafting through the car and anticipated a good meal. I was not disappointed. The shrimp were pounded a little thinner than I like, but they were still moist with a crunchy exterior. There was a slice of lemon hidden under the fries, which I squeezed over the shrimp to give it a light, bright lemon flavor. The fries had a nice light seasoning to them, and the slaw was good. I didn’t come for the slaw though. The 12 piece dinner was delicious and definitely hit the spot. I ate a couple spoonfuls of creamy and luscious banana pudding and popped it back in the fridge for later.

EDWINS is also serving a fried cod sandwich and catfish po’boy for Lent if you want something portable. I’ll definitely be back to try some of their other sandwiches and hot meals. They regularly serve a 1/2 chicken, fried chicken, ribs, brisket, pulled pork, burgers, and wings with a host of sides.

 

Contact info:

EDWINS Butcher Shop
13025 Buckeye Road
Cleveland, Ohio 44120
(216) 417-1100

Fish Fry Friday #5 – St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church

St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church has a special place in my heart. It is where my grandparents and uncle are buried. My dad spent many childhood weekends in the fellowship hall. When all of my friends couldn’t make the fish fry at St. Gabriel’s in Concord I decided to stop by the cemetery and grab some excellent fish and pierogi. I was at this fish fry a few years ago with fellow bloggers Tom and Alicia. Tom is the one who inspired my love of fish fries with his Lenten Project. He would visit two fish fries a night and rate them. His post on April 4, 2011 commemorates our first visit to St. Andrew.

My ideal fish fry has fried fish and homemade pierogi, which is surprisingly not all that common. St. Andrew and many other fish fries in Parma are known for their pierogi more than for their fish. I drove past St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, St. Anthony of Padua, and St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral on my way to St. Andrew. All three have stellar pierogi and are on State Road.

The room is small and lots of people staked their claim. The line to pay and get the dinners from the kitchen is on the right. The to-go area is in the middle of the photo against the wall. The condiments and dessert table is to the left, and the bar is not pictured but built into a cubby in the wall to the left.

After turning onto Pleasant Valley and then Hoertz, I stopped by my grandparents’ and uncle’s grave to say hi before heading to the Hall. I drove through the cemetery, but you can bypass the cemetery by following the signs to the Hall to the left of the cemetery.

Queued up for fish at 5:10 PM

Dinners are served from 5 to 7:30 during Lent. On our last visit Tom lamented that the fish was a little dry, so I got there fairly early to see if an earlier start time means better fish. I am pleased to say it does. The place was packed, and I queued up in line only to learn that there was a separate area for to-go orders. I had had lunch at The Blue Door earlier that day so 5 pm was a good start time but not good because I wasn’t hungry at the time. I also wondered if I would find a seat.

Kitchen window with the kitchen workers hard at work

Apart from a line to the kitchen window to pick up the dinners, the eat-in queue uses the same stations as the to-go queue. There is also someone who will try to accommodate larger groups by reserving seats while you are in line. The place is not big though, so groups may be out of luck depending on when they are there.

Get in line and grab your condiments, cole slaw or apple sauce, bread and butter, dessert and coffee

After ordering my fried fish and pierogi dinner ($13) and a side of cabbage and noodles ($3) I queued up for my condiments and dessert. I was offered a choice of cole slaw or apple sauce. The server suggested the cole slaw when I asked. It was homemade and topped with a dash of paprika. They also had smooth and chunky apple sauce. I was next offered a slice of bread, and it was served by a woman wearing gloves who put it in a sandwich bag for me. No need to stick your hand in a bag of bread here! I should also note all the people serving food wore plastic head coverings.

I had a tough time deciding what dessert to choose. There was a wide variety of cake slices, brownies, cookies and chocolate pudding, but I decided to get the panna cotta topped with pureed strawberries. She managed to put a top on it and put it in a box so I could transport it to go. It ended up flipping over in the trunk of my car, but the lid kept everything in place and it only leaked a little juice into the napkins in the bag and the strawberries slid to the side. I could have also gotten coffee or decaf coffee at that station, because coffee is included in the meal price. I then made my way back to the to-go area and waited until the runner with my meal called out my name and verified my order. I grabbed a ginger ale from the bar before heading out.

Cabbage and noodles – well-seasoned and not bland at all

This is where things got a little esoteric. As I was leaving, Iz’s version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow was playing over the speaker outside. There was no music inside as far as I can recall, but for some reason they were piping out music in front of the Hall and it just happened to be a version of my uncle’s favorite song. We played Eva Cassidy’s version at his funeral. I can only assume he was sending me a message thanking me for the visit, and I walked to my car sobbing. I called my sister in tears to share it with her, and we talked about how much we missed our relatives. I particularly miss them around Easter, because my grandmother’s Easter dinners were legendary and my favorite meal every year growing up. Easter was so special at their house. She would make ham and fresh kielbasa and serve them with homemade pierogi (I have a feeling they were from St. Josaphat’s) and soft, yeasty dinner rolls. The house always smelled wonderful, and we would have an Easter egg hunt while dressed in our Easter finery. Those were the days! I had to take a minute to compose myself before driving off.

Flaky fish and plump pierogi served with a little container of melted butter and caramelized onion to pour over it and crown with sour cream

Once I got home I dove into the meal. The fish was flaky and moist, the pierogi were plump and delicious, and the cole slaw was one of the best I’ve had this Lenten season. I saved half of the meal for tomorrow, but I finished the dessert. I’m almost sad this isn’t the last Fish Fry Friday, because it would have definitely been ending on a high note.

Note: the fish and pierogi were just as divine for breakfast the next day after 5 minutes in the air fryer.

Contact info:

St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church (Back Hall)
7700 Hoertz Road
Parma, OH
440-843-9149